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Changing Your Self-Destructive Behaviors

Posted on :  April 8th, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

It’s true what they say: addiction treatment is a journey, not a destination, and as you make your way through this journey in the battle to change self-destructive behaviors, you’re likely to find yourself reaching several milestones along the way.

These milestones are often referred to as ‘states of change’ and were first identified by Prochaska and DiClemente in 1982.

Since then, millions of recovering addicts worldwide have recognized the milestones of their own personal journeys in their work.

By knowing what each stage consists of, and being able to locate yourself along the journey, you will be better equipped to make use of specific strategies designed to combat your particular stage.

Here’s how to target each stage:

Stage #1 – Precontemplation

The first stage within the recovery process is known as the ‘precontemplation’ stage.

This means that, as an addict, you are not yet ready to acknowledge that your behaviors are destructive and are in denial about your own habits and the effects they may be having on your life.

At this stage, it is important to research your behaviors – seeing them through the eyes of a bystander can be an illuminating experience, and give you real insight into how they are affecting you and those around you.

Talk to a therapist, a doctor, or perhaps even a friend or family member to get some external perspective.

Stage #2 – Contemplation

If you’ve reached the contemplation stage, you are no longer in denial, but are still undecided about whether your self-destructive behaviors are worth continuing or not.

This often involves weighing up the benefits and drawbacks of maintaining them versus dropping them.

At this stage, you should talk to a psychologist, who will provide you with the tools to come to a decision that suits you without leading you there directly.

Stage #3 – Preparation

The preparation stage is the milestone at which you decide to take action to change your self-destructive behaviors.

At this stage, you should research all treatment options available to you by identifying which causes have led to the behaviors, and thus, which treatment programs or support groups are aimed at targeting those particular causes.

Stage #4 – Action

At this stage, you are changing your self-destructive behaviors one at a time, so it is important to make sure you have some semblance of a support network.

A support network will be able to offer encouragement for full engagement with the treatment program you have chosen, to necessitate real change.

Stage #5 – Maintenance

The maintenance stage involves taking the new behaviors you learnt during the action stage, and giving them firm foundations in your life, as they may not yet be established.

They need to be reinforced, so it’s important to make the most of your support network – and not run before you can walk.

At this stage, many recovering addicts find it tempting to view themselves as past the point of no return. This is not the case.

Your new behaviors are still young ones, and you need to nurture them in order to give them a fighting chance to survive throughout this stage.

Stage #6 – Termination

The final stage of the recovery process – termination – manifests when your new behaviors have taken the place of your old self-destructive ones. At this stage, you no longer have a problem.

If you’d like to get started, and live in Toronto or around Hamilton, St. Catharines, or Brantford, Ontario, contact us at

Or you can call us on 905-527-2042 to locate your nearest clinic and kick start your program.

Make sure you have an unexpired OHIP card or call 1-866-532-3161 to find out how to get one.


Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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